Jesus: A coping way

Ive been thinking about this sometimes. As many atheists phillosophers said (and maybe even religious ones) people tend to believe in something so to ease their pain or to help them with their lives. I think that sometimes it seems we do indeeed choose to believe for our own reasons but in the end it all comes down to us wanting not to die and go to heaven. Hats maybe our fear. That we may cease to exst. Thats why we believe.
I guess i never truly understood how most people here say that theyve seen God work trough their lives. I for once never experienced it.

What are your thoughts on this premise?

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Good question. I agree that it is. My dad would say, “Of course God is my crutch. I don’t know how I could live without Him.” Of course, that doesn’t mean religious belief is fake.

Good question on the fear of extinction. I don’t think that’s the case–there are religions out there that don’t believe in the afterlife (many Jews, for example). It’s really hard to pin down one reason for belief --humans are necessarily abstract, desire for logical cause, desire for justice, etc. In fact, to nail it down to one would be a strawman, I think, as religious belief is more than just one thing to everyone. The concept that we need something implies that it’s quite possibly true, to put it in the converse.

Roger Scruton wrote that he thought we tend to put all our insecurities in religion–that’s a coping mechanism. It’s a side effect; but I’m not convinced it’s a sole cause. Thirst for knowledge and science can stem from the same thing, as many folks can attest.

Randal Rauser has a post on why we believe–I’ll have to dig it up some time… Good thoughts. Thanks.

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I dont understand your thinking here. If i want ghosts to exist then they must do for example? I dont understand sorry

Good question. Most of our needs are met in some way. If we are hungry, food exists. If we desire companionship, we can find it. If we need parents, most of us do have them; and it’s natural to have them. By extension, one (weak) argument is that God may exist if we have a need for Him. It’s not a convincing one, but it’s sort of “if it were true, we would expect it to be this way.”

Again, it’s not a positive argument–just that it can fit. There are lots of other, stronger arguments and discussions about various aspects of faith. Thanks.

Well it makes sense but only from one point of view. For instance all the examples you gave can have negative answers too like “food might not be available for you right now” or the argument for parents as a lot of kids have grown at foster care facilities their entire life.

The argument is usually extended to basic needs. Food is real whether you can access it or not. Parents actually exist whether yours are there for you or not. Your desire corresponds to something real in the world, not just your imagination action.

The idea is that our spiritual needs (as shown throughout history and all over the world by religious beliefs virtually everywhere) are just as real as our physical needs. Just as all our physical needs can be met by things that actually exist, then why should we expect our spiritual needs to be any different?

Of course atheists and some critical theists might respond and say we need things in our environment because we were built to. It’s not that all our needs necessarily exist because we need them. It is because we evolved in a framework dependent on them. Just a brute fact of biological evolution. We exist in a physical world with physical laws. Of course we also would have to justify genuine spiritual needs.

I’m not sure this argument is going to be an unassailable logical proof or convince hardcore atheists but it is a very interesting conversation starter.

Vinnie

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Id argue against this actually.If evolution is autonomous and the universe created itself ,why do we have spiritual needs as well as physical ones?I understand the materialistic and physical ones because as you said our world is physical .But why and how can a physical world who created itself can give us spiritual needs?Doesnt make sense

The problem is that atheists might view this comparable to human thought and consciousness. In their view an assemblage of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen atoms being guided by physical laws leads to a complete human being. That seems incomprehensible to me so I think humans have a spirit/soul. There is an otherness to us besides all our atoms and forces but I think my argument from incredulity is fallacious. These atoms and forces produce some wildly exotic structures. They can join in certain ways to create life and that life is remarkably complex. Biological systems are wonderful things when you truly think about what’s going on and how they work and evolved over billions of years. That might be the most amazing fact there is. Life in a universe with fundamental particles governed by four physics laws.

I think most of us here feel life evolved and organized itself into these marvelously complex structures. I am amazed at how the body fights an infection and so on. In many ways I have come to respect the statement that life is “self-organizing” to a degree lately. I still think there is a soul/spiritual otherness to humans however.

Long story short, atheists (and many Christians) believe atoms can “think” if they are assembled into a brain. They seem to have evolution on their side for this. The spiritual realm (primitive science?) as a side effect only seems a small step away for them as an explanation. They would ground it in evolution. It’s not a genuine need lile air, water and food, because you won’t die without it being met.

I do find it all very interesting to think about though and in the end we may just be accused of an argument from incredulity (e.g. there is no way a human eye could have evolved naturally).

Vinnie

For me, I did not want to believe in anything that wasn’t true. (Never have. Still don’t. At times I wish I didn’t believe that Christ is true.) There was no after life that I knew about, but at the same time, taking a hard look at what might happen after I’m dead filled me with dread. I could not imagine my internal voice would be silenced. It seemed to me on a gut level, not a theological or philosophical one, that part of me, that is the real me when no one is looking, cannot be shut off. It is somehow independent of everything else. It has its own life. It is a “creation” itself that can’t die even though I do.
The collision I had once in a football game–I ran down the field on a kickoff full speed, untouched, and ran into the ball carrier who was untouched and running full speed–hitting him in my sternum, stopped my breathing. I did not have the wind knocked out of me. I wasn’t in any pain or discomfort, but when I got up and started to run off the field, I wasn’t breathing–in or out. I tried but nothing happened. I felt fine but collapsed on the sideline thinking I was dying right there. No fear. No pain. It was kind of pleasant actually.
Years later, consumed with bitterness, hatred, self-pity, loneliness, regret, burning anger, smoking non-stop, drinking in the mornings and all day long, then I became scared to death of death.

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Religiosity is an evolutionary spandrel. Appropriate image n’est ce pas?

The need is just about all I have left. Jesus just about meets it.

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I agree but think the otherness, instead of needing to be transmitted to every individual from out there somewhere, is baked in. Religiosity is a cultural phenomenon and one compatible with our intrinsic nature. When I’ve discussed this here before some will say I’m demoting God but I don’t think that is quite right. If anything I think I am demoting what we take to be ourselves. Instead of being the only intentionality associated with our bodies I think consciousness is capable of giving rise to that internal Otherness. Does that idea make God smaller or us smaller?

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The only problem is that there are a number of things where believing something is precisely what makes it true. Not only are our beliefs a part of our perceptual process but we are a participant in the creation of ourselves and our environment.

I could not imagine any rational reason to fear what is essentially absolutely nothing. The only conceivable reason to fear is because it is not nothing.

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It makes him nonexistent, incapable of anything, and it diminishes us. The God who is there, however, is quite capable of providential intervention into our existential times and places. Ask Maggie. There might be a prerequisite or two, however.

I don’t know about that. Jewish people don’t believe in an afterlife.

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They do believe in it if im not mistaken For them though it will happen when the messiah will come
Which for is Christians is never

In general Jews do not believe in the afterlife. Instead, Jews emphasize on making this world a better place. (I had a class with a Rabbi.)

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When a person becomes convinced that they are evil and then turn from love of self and cry out for Jesus to save them from sin, that is exactly what will happen. Salvation becomes active in them because Jesus becomes active in them.
Those who place their trust in Jesus begin to see Him working in their lives, because that is what is actually happening. Because of Jesus our old man is dead and a new man is created in the righteousness of God the Father. It is Christ in us that is actively changing our desires and giving us power to obey. It is the very nature of the Son of God in our spirits, and if His nature is in our spirits, we will see God working in our lives.
Christ in us. This is our power over sin. This is our hope. He is our salvation. If we cling to Him we will continually grow in our knowledge of Him. If we lovingly obey Him, we will know Him. For He said, if you love me you will keep my commandments, and I and my Father will live in you and make ourselves known to you.
Knowing the Father and the Son is just that, we can know them. For in Christ the Father has given us everything we need for life and godliness. God reveals Himself to those who trust, love and obey Him. Christ lives in us. Those who fully lean on the Lord are His very body.

Good News! Christ came to set the captives free and in Him we are free indeed.

Added edited statement.
Jesus is not a way of coping with this life. Jesus is salvation from this present world.
Jesus is life. When the life of Christ enters us, old things are passed away, all things become new. Our spirit is born again by the will of the Father. We are united with eternal life, its very nature.
We don’t cope with this life, we are freed to walk in victory over sin and all the power of the enemy.
Jesus crushed the serpents head just as God said he would.

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I hear you. I know what you mean. I think one easy way to find out if God exists, and if there is life after death, too, is to ask Him about it. Not only is He glad to answer us, He does one heck of a job.

I do not believe that death provides answers as so many think. Quite the opposite, I think it is even more difficult to discover the truth after we are dead. Many – perhaps even most – do not even know they are dead.

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At times Cody, it is all I can do to get through a day. We are but dust. Even Jesus was so low, He struggled mightily with what lay before him. I get the impression He dreaded the events about to unfold in the few hours He had left to live, before they executed him. He remembers we are willing but our flesh is frail at times, too. There isn’t anything wrong with weakness or frailty. God seems to specialize in that kind of thing, so that his grace and love and sustaining power will be more easily recognized as coming from him.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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